Curing olives with drain cleaner

Well, while an attention getter, this is the tried and true method of curing olives. This excellent article gives the details.

We have two olive trees that provide us with enough product to cure, not enough for oil. Last winter’s storms caused major damage to both trees and we expected no crop this year but the remaining branches compensated and actually provided more than normal years.

Essentially, the olives are submersed in a lye solution for a day, rinsed repeated for several days, then put in brine for keeping. Using normal precautions (goggles and gloves), it is a very simple procedure and results are superb.

You may be able to source olives at your farmer’s markets or some friends have bought online.


:neutral_face:Crickets! I might try it, though.

How is the the texture of the lye-cured olives? I think most California olives are lye-cured, and the texture isn’t the same as Mediterranean olives. The Californias are not as juicy. I’ve made brine-cured California olives, and the texture was just about like the kalamatas I prefer.

It seems to depend on the ripeness of the olive. Green olives remain firm and “toothsome”, with the firmness decreasing as the olives turn dark. This year, we have cured olives from NoCal Central Valley and from our own in the Sierra foothills. The difference was that the valley olives were picked a month or more earlier than ours and were also larger.

In the past, we have experimented with salt cure, water cure and brine cure. Finally, the lye cure gives us the best results. It’s all a matter of taste. (I shared some salt cure with a Turkish neighbor who said that they took him home; he was overjoyed. We thought they were close to inedible. Go figure.)

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